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Switzerland takes on new UN role

Switzerland has been accepted as a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

This content was published on March 5, 2003 - 17:56

The announcement was made in New York just a few days after the Swiss government made increased involvement in UN peacekeeping operations one of its priorities for the coming years.

Switzerland only joined the UN six months ago but has long been involved in monitoring peace agreements around the world.

Welcoming the decision, the Swiss delegation in New York said the country would seek to promote improved coordination and efficiency in peacekeeping activities.

In a statement, it said Switzerland's UN peacekeeping contribution to date had been "modest in terms of numbers of personnel, but wholehearted".

Risks

Switzerland knew the risks connected with peacekeeping, the statement said, and Swiss nationals had been among those killed or taken hostage during UN operations.

As the newest member of the committee, Switzerland would commit personnel, equipment, and funds for disarmament and demining.

It would also take part in inspection work, such as is currently taking place in Iraq.

In the longer term, Switzerland is likely to make more military units available for peacekeeping operations, the statement said.

Switzerland has been involved in UN operations since 1989, committing medical personnel to Namibia, Western Sahara and Tajikistan.

It has also supported the KFor peacekeeping force in Kosovo since 1999.

swissinfo with agencies

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